Retailers missing $187 bn digital opportunity: Cisco

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San Francisco, Jan 19 (IANS) Retailers remain in the early phases of digital transformation and are missing a $187 billion opportunity by not prioritising investments in employee productivity, global networking giant Cisco said on Thursday. Six per cent of retailers' investment priorities are focused on employee productivity use cases despite the fact these use cases deliver the greatest return on investment for retailers, the company estimated. "The shakeup caused by digital disruption is already underway with major retailers announcing the closure of hundreds of their brick and mortar stores in recent months in order to better compete in a landscape where physical and digital channels are increasingly converging," said Kathryn Howe, Director, US Commercial Digital Transformation, Retail and Hospitality Industries, Cisco, in a statement. In an effort to help retailers achieve digital transformation, Cisco has released "A Roadmap to Digital Value in the Retail Industry" which guides retailers through three phases -- enable digital capabilities, differentiate their brand through new digital capabilities and define new business models through digital disruption. Only 29 per cent of retailers' investment priorities are currently focused on the "differentiate" phase and only 22 per cent in the "define" phase, the second and third phases of the roadmap, respectively. The findings indicate that most retailers have not made enough progress when it comes to digital transformation and may be at risk of being out-performed by faster moving, more innovative retail ventures. Retailers are prioritising the majority of their digital technology investments in customer experience use cases (37 per cent) that aim to improve personal engagement with consumers. "Retailers need to make more progress in digitising their workforce and their core operations in order to execute on the innovative customer experiences they want to deliver, and to position themselves for success in the new retail landscape," added Howe.

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